For those who don’t know, every year there’s a big “boot and shoe aging” contest called the Stitchdown Patina Thunderdome, where hundres of footwear lovers wear a pair and cover the aging progression during six months. This year I had a pair of Midas Bootmaker x Skolyx x Dr. Sole moc toe boots in natural semi veg tanned leather, here’s a picture special of how these developed during the past half year.
The contest is organised by Stitchdown, the website and podcast focusing on workwear footwear, and this is the second edition of the much appreciated contest. Over 500 people have gone through the whole contest in either the open or the work boots category, now a jury will review all entries and select a bunch of winners and honourable mentions for the boots and shoes that have “aged best”, and a bunch of footwear plus a trip to Japan is in the prize pool.
As I’ve written about before, we at Skolyx have a collaboration with the fine Indonesian maker Midas Bootmaker (the workwear branch of Winson Shoemaker), and one of the new models we launched last autumn was a moc toe boot, hand welted with handmade sole stitching, made in a natural semi veg tan leather that a friend of the Midas founder is tanning himself. A leather that, quite frankly, looks rather bad when new in a pig pink shade, but which will change in colour through the years and develop a fantastic, unique character. I’ve been wearing them quite a lot (for being a specific pair of mine, I usually rotate much more) during the winter, at least 3 days a week (I plan to have these boots for a long time so I always use shoe trees and in most cases let them rest a day after wear, not intentionally trying to put them through anything I wouldn’t do regularly just for the sake of this contest).
Living in Sweden, they go through quite harsh conditions in times with snow, slush, road salt etc, and I go on walks quite a bit in the woods close to where I live. Once a month one take photos from set angles to showcase how the shoes age, and I’ve been cleaning them with the awesome Tarrago WASC super cleaner and conditioned them with the fully oil-based Saphir Medaille d’Or Nappa conditioner (which nourish well but don’t prevent the natural patina development) before every photo session. In the photos below you can see how they have slowly but surely turned into a quite lovely light brown shade, with more life and depth in the shade. After all, six months isn’t that long for a pair of quality footwear though, so a lot more will happen the coming years for sure.